The overriding conceit of the abstract expressionists was a certainty that the act of engaging the visual can bring revelation if not resolution to the larger emotional issues we confront. Kang’s very personal synthesis of lyrical abstraction and abstract expressionism and the source from the natural world that the images use as a springboard are revealed but rarely at the expense of the painting process. Her gift and spirit are revealed in these fundamentally abstract canvases as is her tenacity and prolific commitment to a search within the sublime. We see an initial, perhaps naïve, belief that personal search based in color and mark can bring resolution rewarded when that approach is constructed of honest clear commitment. --Gerald Swigger ,1997

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Creating bold, reductive images that appear charged with spontaneity and immediacy. Ehja Kang’s paintings and installations converse with the traditions of painterly abstraction that have been ongoing in California since the ‘50s. Constructing allusions to space, time and memory, her works explore the meaning and significance of color, often setting luminous passages against those of impenetrable darkness. While occasionally the contour of a leaf, tree, mountain or figure seems to appear, for the most part Kang’s works allude only indirectly to the world of appearances, exploring instead terrains of the psyche and mind. ------Seemingly childlike, her sophisticated works manifest an interest in the processes of making art, embodying traces of consciousness as inscribed in notations related to intuition and instinct. -- Collette Chattopadhyay, 2003

For more than a decade Ehja Kang has consistently been led by her inner feelings and clearly defined her approach as making “invisible visible.” As a woman, she has long communicated through her intuitive feelings, and then eventually realized that as an artist her basic problem was to sense the forces of interacting visual elements –line, texture, shape, and color within the newly created form with transforming powers.

Human feelings are endless and manifold. Her main source of reawakening or sharpening her sense of feeling is Nature. Whether cruising along the California coastline, Death Valley or hiking along the Muir trails, she is deeply struck by the beauty of nature psychologically and philosophically. Born in Korea, she was taught that cosmos was made up of interacting forces of its Five Elements --Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, each having ying and yang aspects. Wood is said to give birth to Fire, Fire to Earth, Earth to Metal, Metal to Water, and Water gives birth to Wood. Visual images were used to help people harmonize sexual polarities, ying and yang. The magical powers of calligraphy were used to meet the needs of daily life. Concerned with changes of season and weather essential for planting and harvesting, curing sickness or easing childbirth, magical graphic diagrams and talismans were used to communicate with unknown forces. The world was seen as Cosmic spirit which vitalizes and infuses all things, giving energy to man, life to nature, movement to water, growth to plants.

Having studied Oriental brush painting and calligraphy, Ehja Kang utilizes line as her basic element and carrier of spiritual vitality. During her morning meditation period, she simply plays and scribbles in line, a time to be in tune with different implements and colors on hand.

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Kang conceives abstraction not as extraction of reality, but to create graphic form embodying concepts as change, movement and energy. Kang begins her work with unique form of rhythmic linearity, uniting the pulse beat of human body and invisible ether of vitality. As she creates form with tangles of thick and thin lines rather freely, her perpetual task has been to give visual reality to imaginative space. Her recent trips to Korea allowed her to study the making of handmade paper, and collecting wide ranges of color and textured handmade paper. By overlapping layers of colored paper and paint, she successfully creates space that pulsates with translucent and transparent color and light. As Chattopadhyay eloquently states, “ Kang’s works bespeak a philosophical approach to life that acknowledges flux and change as more significant than any singular truth.” Amidst the turmoil around the world, art with its power to transfigure and transform gives all of us venue to recover our vision. Kang maintains a daily ritual in her studio to create and replenish this capacity for change.

In our money-oriented society, few government officials recognize the value of art and creative people. Artist is a dedicated person, who stays close to others and yet takes the risk of being alienating from his/her culture. The waiting period for artist to synchronize in values, feelings, attitudes, to be contemporary but see beyond, struggle against conformity and create the future is not a simple task. Art addresses two basic human needs. One is our need to be intimate with experience and the other to create something with permanence or transform our experience with timelessness. As inner resources, perceived as microcosm, Ehja Kang is connected to the outer world. through her “meditative mandala,” her personal image of the universe represents the balanced whole. The act of painting is meditation. It is a heightened state of Mind where all human senses are attuned and aware. It is not a child being obsessed with his toy oblivious to what is happening around him. It is where the creator is aware of that state of affairs in the world as well as the evolving new creation. Often, Kang remarks that her most successful work comes at the end of the day. It happens when there is free unconscious flow of energy welded with disciplined craftsmanship.

Working daily in her studio, Ehja Kang is able to perceive the evolution and development of her work. Often, a successive work is influenced by a previous one. Likewise, the development of each work requires sensitivity to movement in an action followed by a sequential step in regaining or maintaining balance. Creativity does require vulnerability, receptivity, and attentiveness within the process of relationship. The surface appearance of her work is never slick. Sometimes, her work is awkward, but she allows the refinement to evolve naturally through content or unimpeded flow of movement in creation.

- Lydia Takeshita (Executive Director of LA Art Core)